TSA's new "pat-downs" are so invasive, airports are pre-emptively warning cops to expect sexual assault claims

If the TSA thinks that you're suspicious -- or if you opt out of the "optional" full-body scanner -- you get a junk-touching "secondary screening" in which the screeners "pat you down" by rubbing the backs of their hands on your genitals and other "sensitive areas" (they can be pretty rough -- a screener at ORD once punched me in the balls to retaliate for me asking him not to rest the tub containing my bags on top of my unprotected laptop). Read the rest

80-year-old lady surprised when TSA finds sword inside her walking cane

The AP reports that an 80-year-old South Carolina woman had no idea her cane contained a sword until she attempted to board a plane and it was inspected by TSA staff.

News outlets report that Transportation Security Administration regional spokesman Mark Howell recounted the incident Thursday at Myrtle Beach International Airport as part of an effort to highlight examples of dangerous items recently carried by passengers departing the airport.

Howell told reporters secret swords are not actually that uncommon a discovery for TSA screeners since people sometimes buy the canes at thrift stores without realizing there's a sword inside.

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Internal TSA files reveal that they have no evidence the $1B "behavioral detection" program works

In 2013, the TSA blew $1B on "behavioral detection," which would allegedly train agents to spot potential terrorists by looking for a hilariously stupid list of "tells" including "a bobbing adam's apple," "arriving late," "trembling," "yawning," "excessive throat clearing," "improper attire," "gazing down," and "wide open staring eyes," Also: "being in disguise." Read the rest

Judge Reinhold arrested at Dallas airport for refusing a second TSA screening

Actor Judge Reinhold was flying out of Dallas Love Field on Thursday and his bag set off an "alarm" on a TSA scanner, so security personnel demanded to pat Reinhold down; Reinhold objected that he'd already passed through the naked scanner and didn't believe he should have to get a government-mandated genital massage as well. Police were called and he was arrested. Read the rest

Aviation's war on moisture turns ten today

Ten years ago, British domestic security claimed to have caught a terrorist cell that had planned to blow up airplanes with a gel they'd carry on in a Gatorade bottle and detonate with an Ipod. Read the rest

Transparent suitcase

Not that it would stop the TSA from rifling through your clothes, but I do think the transparency of Crumpler's Vis-A-Vis clear suitcase makes a fun statement. The clear polycarbonate trunk is 46.5cm x 68cm x 25cm and sells for AU$745.00.

VIS-A-VIS - TRUNK 68CM CLEAR (via Weird Universe)

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TSA approves having a mummified head as your carry-on luggage, with reservations

As long as it is "properly packaged, labeled and declared," one may take Victorian philosopher Jeremy Bentham's mummified head onto your flight. The TSA added that travelers may simply snap a picture and tweet it to @AskTSA if they are in any doubt about the flight-legality of any desiccated human remains with which they wish to fly. Read the rest

Congress: TSA is worst place to work in USG, nearly half of employees cited for misconduct; it's getting worse

The House Homeland Security Committee Majority Staff Report has just published its investigation on aviation security, and the title really tells you everything you need to know: MISCONDUCT AT TSA THREATENS THE SECURITY OF THE FLYING PUBLIC. Read the rest

Paralyzed, partially deaf-blind teen with brain tumor beaten bloody by TSA

Hannah Cohen is a 19 year old who is being treated for a brain tumor at Memphis's St Jude's Hospital, who is "partially deaf, blind in one eye, paralyzed, and easily confused" -- and who was subjected to a violent beating during a secondary TSA screening while flying home to Chatanooga, TN for the holidays.

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Traveler sues TSA for missed flight

Although Minneapolis man Hooman Nikizad arrived at the airport two hours early, as recommended, his hour-and-a-half wait in the security line made him miss his flight. He then had to buy a second ticket on another airline in order to get to his destination on time. Now he's suing the TSA for $506.85 to cover the cost.

"I had to buy a ticket with another airline to be able to make my destination and meet my obligations," Nikizad said in his claim, which noted the TSA had limited staff on duty at the time and "only one body scanner for the regular security line [in operation]"...The money being sought, he said, is to reimburse him for a replacement ticket, additional ground transportation expenses and the $75 court fee to file his claim.

No comment from the TSA. For more, read the full story at the Star Tribune. Read the rest

Airport security officer was alleged war criminal, arrested for lying about participation in "genocidal acts" (UPDATED)

Yusuf Abdi Ali, a former Somali national army commander, is a pretty famous alleged war criminal, someone who's been profiled on major news media, deported from Canada over a failed claim of refugee status, arrested in the USA for lying about his participation in "genocidal acts" on his visa applications, currently embroiled in a lawsuit with someone who claims Ali tortured and shot him -- and now he works as a private airport security officer at DC's Dulles airport. Read the rest

TSA's Instagram features bizarre items found at checkpoints

The TSA Instagram account is such a trove of high weirdness that I am now thinking of the TSA as a publicly-funded arts organization that I contribute to with taxes and time spent in line as it scans travelers for items to add to this gallery.

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TSA head of security 'removed from his position'

The U.S. Transportation Security Administration asked its head of security to turn in his badge and bright blue gloves. Kelly Hoggan has been 'removed from his post.'

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Phoenix airport threatens to kick out TSA, hire private (unaccountable) contractors

The administrators of the Phoenix Sky Harbor airport are apparently considering getting rid of the TSA and replacing them with private contractors, similar to the setup at San Francisco International Airport. Read the rest

Footage of security lines snaking out the airport

Incredible footage of the TSA line at Chicago Midway airport yesterday, which snakes out the airport atrium and into the surrounding transit hallways -- it's hundreds of yards long.

It follows news of massive layoffs at the TSA, though apparently most of the planned firings haven't happened yet, so it's only going to get worse.

The only bright spot is that the airlines themselves appear to be at the end of their tether: the lines are depriving them of passengers who must be rebooked. And, thanks to the Brussels attacks, everyone knows that the compressed packs of humans created by airport security theater are a prime target in their own right.

Good to know no dangerous breast milk got on those half-empty flights, though. Read the rest

TSA lines grow to 3 hours, snake outside the terminals, with no end in sight

The TSA gambled on millions of wealthy Americans opting out of its pornoscanner-and-shoe-removal process and signing up for its Precheck policy, which allows travellers to pay for the "privilege" of walking through a metal-detector with their shoes on, while their laptops stay in their bags. Read the rest

TSA's full-body scanners in airports lead to more overall deaths, lawsuit claims

People who fear the TSA's airport body scanners might start driving more instead of flying, and that will raise the number of traffic deaths. That's the argument behind a new legal challenge filed against the Transportation Security Administration today over the much-loathed airport security scanning machines. We have blogged about them zillion times here at Boing Boing. We hate them too.

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